Health IT and electronic health records (EHRs) can help you provide patients with access to their health information, improve care coordination, and provide higher quality and safer care for your patients.
EHRs are designed to allow appropriate information sharing beyond the health care provider who first collects the information. An EHR is built to share information with your patients and with other providers, such as labs and specialists. It can contain information from all the providers involved in a patient’s care, or it can link through secure information networks to information held in other providers’ EHR systems. And, as health information exchange capabilities advance further, the information can move with the patient—to the specialist, the hospital, the nursing home, the next state, or even across the country.
Research suggests, however, that patients have a limited understanding of EHRs. As a provider, it is important for you to engage your patients in a conversation about health information technology, and about EHRs in particular, to answer their questions.
You can also talk to your patients about how personal health records (PHRs) can help them share their information and manage their medical care.